Rafael Barahona is the owner of R3 Design in Goshen, Indiana. He is a creative consultant with years of professional experience in design and marketing. He attends Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship in Goshen with his family.
I imagine that selecting one’s 10 all-time favorite songs seems like an impossible task for most. I feel the same way, but here are some selections that I certainly never tire of hearing.
1. “Como Me Acuerdo,” Robi Draco Rosa: For years, Robi has been a favorite artist, blending genres effortlessly. This track is a beauty of layered elements and is powered by nostalgia, which I am particularly susceptible to.
2. “Nostrand,” Ratatat: This instrumental track makes this list because it has such an awesome groove. I love how it sets a steady musical backdrop and gradually builds until peaking at 1:53 with an explosive riff that involuntarily has me playing air guitar…every time.
3. “No One’s Going to Heaven,” The Hour: This track was a Spotify discovery and as soon as I heard it, I was curious to discover who in the world was producing that sound. I loved the layered vocals and mix of R&B grooves with electronic turbulence. I was further intrigued as I discovered that this UK act revels in mystery. Go ahead and google them; info on them is sparse.
4. “Touching Heaven,” Johnnyswim: I’ve been a huge Johnnyswim fan since their debut and choosing only one of their songs was particularly difficult. This track though beautifully exhibits their heart with wonderful lyrics that anyone who has been in love can relate to. I recently got the see them in concert and Abner and Amanda have charisma and chemistry in excess. Having their baby cameo at the end of the track is icing on the cake.
5. “Hysteria,” Muse: Muse has been one of my favorite bands for a long time running, especially in the arena of rock. The opening bass-line in this track remains on of my favorites of all time, coupled perfectly with a wailing guitar that proclaims the song’s desperate state of desire. At face value I think this song is about relationships, but with the recurring political and dystopian themes they address, I can’t help but wonder what else the song refers to.
6. “All the Diamonds in the World,” Bruce Cockburn: This is a college throwback I learned about from a fellow SSTer [participant in Study Service Term at Goshen College] in Cote d’Ivoire. Featuring simple yet beautiful guitar work, I was instantly a sucker for the imagery evoked by this Canadian singer-songwriter. It still makes me marvel at the beauty of creation.
7. “Latter Days,” Over the Rhine: One of my favorite musical presentations features a slow, methodic piano paired with a sultry and even melancholic vocal. I didn’t really know this though until I heard this song. For the full experience, listen to this one at full volume while laying down in a dark room, maybe with one candle to keep you company.
8. “Hearts a Mess,” Gotye: Most people would recognize Gotye from his 2011 release, “Somebody I Used to Know.” That is certainly a great track, but it gets edged out for me with “Hearts a Mess.” If you get a chance to see the video, it is a fascinating Burtonesque exploration of heartbreak and the desire to connect.
9. “Clipping,” Mutemath: This one, for me, represents the visceral pain in our darkest times. I imagine these are the thoughts of those struggling with depression or who have contemplated giving up. The clever use of distortion throughout the song reinforces the sense of feeling overloaded and ready to give up.
10. “How Bad We Need Each Other,” Marc Scibilia: I discovered Marc in concert at Ignition Music in Goshen, a true musical gem in the Midwest. I was an instant fan. I love his seasoned vocals and themes and how down to earth he is in general. This song seems so relevant these days as polarization seems to have reached new extremes.
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